17th Century Scottish Soldiers to be Reburied

Oliver Cromwell led thousands of Scottish soldiers into the English Civil War over 350 years ago. Some soldiers were taken prisoner and were eventually buried in mass graves after their death. These soldiers will finally receive the burial they deserve. All of the remains that have been found will be reburied in a cemetery located near Durham University.

The University of Durham released a statement comment that, “The decision follows extensive consultation with a range of interest parties, including in the USA, where some of the surviving soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar were transported.”

In 2013, archaeologists stumbled upon the mass grave during an excavation near Durham University. There were two separate mass graves that experts uncovered. Between the two graves, there was approximately 1,700 bodies found. Located near the World Heritage Site, the remains will no longer reside in the graves they were found in. However, experts intend to place a plaque that will commemorate the event and the soldiers.

As soon as archaeologists finish studying this discovery, the remains will be reburied. Experts expect this process to be finished by late 2017. Although experts plan to rebury all of the remains, Durham University will be keeping a few teeth in order to investigate them at a later time.

Chris Gerrard, professor from Durham University, comments that,  “It has been hugely rewarding to see the level of interest in the Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project both in the U.K. and the USA.”

Despite reburying most of the remains, some have disliked the idea that the University would keep a few teeth. This decision was a tough one for everyone involved. However, the choice was approved by the University Ethics Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of Durham University.

David Cowling, chancellor at Durham University, states “the decision on where to rebury the soldiers was very complex. We were acutely aware of the strength and depth of interest amongst many about the fate of these soldiers, whilst at the same time recognizing out ethical, moral, and legal obligations.”